Bratislava, Slovakia – Slovakia has prolonged the country-wide ban on all inbound commercial flights until May 14, local authorities announced.
First introduced on March 13 when Slovakia only had a few confirmed cases of Covid-19 infection, the measure applies to all civilian flights to Slovakia, but doesn’t ban outbound flights.
The country’s Central Crisis Staff decides, every two weeks, whether to extend the ban or not.
Slovakia was one of the first countries in Europe to shut down air connections at its three international airports to prevent the spread of the virus.
Bratislava airport remains technically open and continues to handle repatriation flights of Slovak citizens from abroad, as well as cargo, rescue, humanitarian and state missions.
Anyone arriving in Slovakia must submit to state quarantine until being tested for Covid-19 and, even if the results are negative, spend the rest of the 14-day preventive period in self-isolation at home.
In a statement released on social media, Bratislava Airport pointed out that, despite the flight ban, a number of airlines, including Budapest-based budget carrier Wizz Air, have started selling tickets for flights to or from Slovakia. Ryanair also plans to re-start flights in Slovakia as of May 15.
“However, if the ban on commercial flights is extended again, those flights won’t take place”, the airport warned.
Critics have accused airlines of trying to trick travelers into booking flights bound to get cancelled and to let “customers run around in circles on an endless cancellation-refund treadmill”.